The Venezuelan consul general in Miami, ordered to leave the country by the State Department, boarded a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Caracas early Monday, multiple sources told NBC Miami.
The State Department used rules from the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to expel Livia Acosta Noguera, who had been in charge of the Venezuelan consulate in South Florida. She was ordered to get out by Tuesday.
The FBI investigated her after the Spanish-language network Univision aired a documentary in December reporting that while stationed in Mexico, Acosta Noguera met with Iranian officials and allegedly plotted cyber attacks on U.S. nuclear power facilities and other government buildings.
Her departure from the U.S. came on the same day that Iran’s president arrived in Caracas. The two countries are allies.
“When things like this transpire, when one country chooses to declare a diplomat a persona non grata, the country does not have to provide any explanation for the reason to request the person to leave the country,” said Hilarion Martinez of Florida International University, who spent 25 years working for the State Department and was stationed in Venezuela.
A representative at the consulate, in an office building in Brickell, refused to say anything about the expulsion and would not open the door to let NBC Miami inside.
Congressman David Rivera and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen both asked the State Department to take action concerning the consul. Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said what allegedly happened in the case is a perfect example for why the U.S. needs to keep a close eye on what happens with Iran in Latin America.
"This administration must be more proactive and engaged against the serious threat of Iranian activity in the region and this is a first step in that direction,” she said Sunday.